Lurgan, Northern Ireland (TFC) – The Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) posted an image to Facebook that shows its members openly patrolling the streets of Lurgan. Open patrols of Republican strongholds haven’t occurred in any great number since the 1990s.
The CIRA traces its lineage through the Irish Republican Army all the way back to the Easter Rising of 1916. The IRA’s activities have always been cyclical in nature with peaks of intense violence spaced between periods of recruitment and treaty talks. “The Troubles,” as the ongoing conflict is known, have seen an uptick over the last few years and that trend is likely to continue as British security forces continue to be dismissive of the organization that had been underground for the better part of a decade. Earlier this month the CIRA fired shots into the air during a commemoration, and over the last two years the intensity of campaigns from Republican forces has steadily climbed. The goal of the IRA has always been simply stated in two words: Brits out.
A statement was posted along with the image:
“Volunteers of the Continuity Irish Republican Army pictured during the week patrolling the streets of Lurgan, Co Armagh on the lookout England’s armed colonial police, the RUC/PSNI and undercover British Soldiers who are operating unwanted across occupied Ireland.”
The CIRA has assassinated British security services in the recent past. County Armagh has long been a hotbed of Republican activity. It was this county that gave birth to the feared “South Armagh Sniper.”
The British security services are continuing to be dismissive of the IRA. Superintendent David Moore, District Commander for Armagh said:
“Whilst it is incredibly easy for anyone to manipulate social media platforms or other features of the internet to gain some measure of publicity, when it is done in this manner it can constitute a serious criminal offence, and we have already begun the work necessary to establish the facts, and bring those responsible for criminal acts to justice.”
The image shows two men, one armed with a Kalishnikov and one armed with an Uzi, on the streets. To treat this as a publicity stunt is to continue to be dismissive of an organization that has its roots in 800 years of resistance to British rule. The IRA has bombed, assassinated, kidnapped, rioted, and waged a war that brought the British government to the peace table more than once. The one thing it has never done in 800 years of war is bluff.
For a complete profile of the IRA, click here.